What Is DMSO Gel?

Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) gel is a colorless, faintly oily gel created as a byproduct of wood pulp. DMSO gel is typically used as a industrial solvent, but is also used to relieve pain caused by arthritis or an autoimmune disorder. According to PainEase.com, DMSO gel is used in Europe for the treatment of arthritis and bursitis, but is not FDA approved for topical use in the United States because it is not clear how it affects the body.

Arthritis (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

DMSO gel is used to treat pain associated with many illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, and arthrosis. According to a study reported by the National Institutes of Health, 44% of participants who experienced tendinitis, alleviated their pain within two weeks after using DMSO gel. Positive results were experienced within three days to one week of use.

arthritis (Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

According to Racoon.com, DMSO gel can penetrate the blood stream through application on the skin, allowing it and any other substances that touch the affected area to absorb into the blood. DMSO gel tastes like garlic or oysters. It can make the application area smell like garlic after it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Garlic (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

According to the University of Alaska, the FDA has not approved DMSO gel for topical use because it causes significant side effects. It is only approved for limited use for treating interstitial cystitis. The extent of its side effects are not known and more clinical testing is required to verify the safety of DMSO gel.

FDA (Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

DMSO gel is sold commercially as an industrial solvent. It is sold in jars mixed with additional gel for topical use. Aloe vera, fragrances, or distilled water is also mixed with the gel.

Aloe vera
Aloe vera (Ivan Kmit/iStock/Getty Images)
Side Effects

According to eVitamins.com, DMSO causes stomach pain, headache, light sensitivity, and visual disturbances. Skin irritation or burning can occur at the application site. Racoon.com also states DMSO gel causes dizziness and nausea. It can damage the liver, kidneys, and the central nervous system.

Stomach pain
Stomach pain (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)
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